Liu Z, Zheng B, Zhang Q, Guan D. New dynamics of energy use and CO2 emissions in China. Nature. Submitted.Abstract

Global achievement of climate change mitigation will heavy reply on how much of CO2 emission has and will be released by China. After rapid growth of emissions during last decades, China’s CO2 emissions declined since 20141 that driven by decreased coal consumption, suggesting a possible peak of China’s coal consumption and CO2 emissions2. Here, by combining a updated methodology and underlying data from different sources, we reported the soaring 5.5%  (range: +2.5% to +8.5%  for one sigma) increase of China’s CO2 emissions in 2018 compared to 2017, suggesting China’s CO2 is not yet to peak and leaving a big uncertain to whether China’s emission will continue to rise in the future. Although our best estimate of total emission (9.9Gt CO2 in 2018) is lower than international agencies3-6 in the same year, the results show robust on a record-high energy consumption and total CO2 emission in 2018. During 2014-2016, China’s energy intensity (energy consumption per unit of GDP) and total CO2 emissions has decreased driven by energy and economic structure optimization. However, the decrease in emissions is now offset by stimulates of heavy industry production under economic downturn that driving coal consumption (+5% in 2018), as well as the surging of natural gas consumption (+18% in 2018) due to the government led “coal-to-gas” energy transition to reduce local air pollutions. Timing policy and actions are urgent needed to address on these new drivers to turn down the total emission growth trend.

Liu Z, Deng Z, He G, Wang H, Zhang X, Lin J, Qi Y, Liang X. Challenges and opportunities for carbon neutrality in China. Nature Reviews Earth & Environment. 2022;3 :141-155. Publisher's VersionAbstract
China is currently the world’s largest emitter of carbon dioxide (CO2). China therefore has a key role in global climate change mitigation. Policies and commitments are required to enable decarbonization. In this Perspective, we summarize the key features of China’s CO2 emissions, its reduction processes and successes in meeting climate targets. China’s CO2 emissions reductions have been substantial: by 2020, carbon intensity decreased by 48.4% compared to 2005 levels, achieving objectives outlined in the Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Actions and Nationally Determined Contributions. These reductions rely on the achievements of sectoral and sub-national targets outlined by China’s Five-Year Plans. However, China still faces the challenges of reaching its peak total CO2 emissions before 2030 and achieving carbon neutrality before 2060. Key steps towards China’s carbon neutrality include increasing its non-fossil energy share, deploying negative-emission technologies at large scale, promoting regional low-carbon development and establishing a nationwide ‘green market’. To achieve these steps, top-down socio-economic development plans must coincide with bottom-up economic incentives and technology development.
Liu Z, Deng Z, Davis SJ, Giron C, Ciais P. Monitoring global carbon emissions in 2021. Nature Reviews Earth & Environment . 2022. Publisher's VersionAbstract
Following record-level declines in 2020, near-real-time data indicate that global CO2 emissions rebounded by 4.8% in 2021, reaching 34.9 GtCO2. These 2021 emissions consumed 8.7% of the remaining carbon budget for limiting anthropogenic warming to 1.5 °C, which if current trajectories continue, might be used up in 9.5 years at 67% likelihood.
Liu Z, Deng Z, Ciais P, Lei R, Davis SJ, Feng S, Wang Y, Yue X, Lei Y, Zhou H, et al. COVID-19 causes record decline in global CO2 emissions. arXiv:2004.13614. 2020. Publisher's VersionAbstract

The unprecedented cessation of human activities during the COVID-19 pandemic has affected global energy use and CO2 emissions from fossil fuel use and cement production. Here we show that the decrease in global fossil CO2 emissions during the first quarter of 2020 was of 5.8% (542 Mt CO2 with a 20% 1-{\sigma} uncertainty). Unlike other emerging estimates, ours show the temporal dynamics of emissions based on actual emissions data from power generation (for 29 countries) and industry (for 73 countries), on near real time activity data for road transportation (for 132 countries), aviation and maritime transportation, and on heating degree days for commercial and residential sectors emissions (for 206 countries). These dynamic estimates cover all of the human induced CO2 emissions from fossil fuel combustion and cement production. The largest share of COVID-related decreases in emissions are due to decreases in industry (157.9 Mt CO2, -7.1% compared to 2019), followed by road transportation (145.7 Mt CO2, -8.3%), power generation (131.6 Mt CO2, -3.8%), residential (47.8 Mt CO2, -3.6%), fishing and maritime transport (35.5Mt CO2, -13.3%) and aviation (33.4 Mt CO2, -8.0%). Regionally, decreases in emissions from China were the largest and earliest (-10.3%), followed by Europe (EU-27 & UK) (-4.3%) and the U.S. (-4.2%). Relative decreases of regional CO2 emissions are consistent with regional nitrogen oxides concentrations observed by satellites and ground-based networks. Despite the unprecedented decreases in CO2 emissions and comparable decreases in economic activities, we monitored decreases in the carbon intensity (Emission per unit of GDP) in China (3.5%), the U.S. (4.5%) and Europe (5.4%) over the first quarter, suggesting that carbon-intensive activities have been disproportionally impacted.

Churkina G, Organschi A, Reyer CPO, Ruff A, Vinke K, Liu Z, Reck BK, Graedel TE, Schellnhuber HJ. Buildings as a global carbon sink. Nature Sustainability. 2020. Publisher's Version
Chen S, Chen B, Feng K, Liu Z, Fromer N, Tan X, Alsaedi A, Hayat T, Weisz H, Schellnhuber HJ, et al. Physical and virtual carbon metabolism of global cities. Nature Communications. 2020;11 (1) :1-11. Publisher's Version chenetal2020physicalandvirtualcarbonmetablismofglobalcities.pdf
Cui D, Deng Z, Liu Z. China's non-fossil fuel CO2 emission from industrial processes. Applied Energy. 2019;254 :113537. Publisher's Version 1-s2.0-s0306261919312115-main.pdf
Hong C, Zhang Q, Zhang Y, Davis SJ, Tong D, Zheng Y, Liu Z, Guan D, He K. Impacts of climate change on future air quality and human health in China. PNAS. 2019;116 (35) :17193-17200. Publisher's Version 17193.full_.pdf
Zhao H, Geng G, Zhang Q, Davis SJ, Li X, Liu Y, Peng L, Li M, Zheng B, Huo H, et al. Inequality of household consumption and air pollution-related deaths in China. Nature Communications. 2019;10 :4337. Publisher's Version s41467-019-12254-x.pdf
Liu X, Pei F, Wen Y, Li X, Wang S, Wu C, Yiling Cai, Wu J, Chen J, Feng K, et al. Global urban expansion offsets climate-driven increases in terrestrial net primary productivity. Nature Communications volume. 2019;10 :5558. Publisher's Version s41467-019-13462-1.pdf
Yi K, Meng J, Yang H, He C, Henze DK, Liu J, Guan D, Liu Z, Zhang L, Zhu X, et al. The cascade of global trade to large climate forcing over the Tibetan Plateau glaciers. Nature Communications. 2019;10 :3281-3285. Publisher's Version nc.pdf
Ciais P, Tan J, Wang X, Roedenbeck C, Chevallier F, Piao S, Moriarty R, Broquet G, Quere CL, Canadell P, et al. Five decades of northern land carbon uptake revealed by the interhemispheric CO2 gradient. Nature. 2019;568 :221-225. Publisher's Version five_decades_of_northern_land_carbon_uptake_reveal.pdf
Chen Z-M, Ohshita S, Lenzen M, Wiedmann T, Jiborn M, Lester L, Liu Z. Consumption-based greenhouse gas emissions accounting with capital stock change highlights dynamics of fast-developing countries. Nature Communications. 2018;9 :3581. Publisher's Version s41467-018-05905-y.pdf
Shan Y, Guan D, Hubacek K, Zheng B, Davis SJ, Jia L, Liu J, Liu Z, Fromer N, Mi Z, et al. City-level climate change mitigation in China. Science Advances. 2018;4 (6) :eaaq0390. Publisher's Version city-level_climate_change_mitigation_in_china.pdf
Meng J, Mi Z, Guan D, Li J, Tao S, Li Y, Feng K, Liu J, Liu Z, Wang X, et al. The rise of South–South trade and its effect on global CO2 emissions. Nature Communications. 2018;9 (1) :1871. Publisher's Version the_rise_of_south-south_trade_and_its_effect_on_global_co2_emissions.pdf
Shan Y, Guan D, Zheng H, Ou J, Li Y, Meng J, Mi Z, Liu Z, Zhang Q. China CO2 emission accounts 1997–2015. Scientific Data. 2018;5 :170201. Publisher's Version sdata2017201.pdf
Qiang Zhang, Zifeng Lu DSG, Jiang X, Tong D, Davis SJ, Zhao H, Geng G, Feng T, Zheng B, Lu Z, Streets DG, et al. Transboundary health impacts of transported global air pollution and international trade. Nature. 2017;543 (7647) :705-709. Publisher's Version nature21712.pdf
Mi Z, Meng J, Guan D, Shan Y, Liu Z, Wang Y, Feng K, Wei Y-M. Pattern changes in determinants of Chinese emissions. Environmental Research Letters. 2017;12 : 074003. Publisher's Version mi_2017_environ._res._lett._12_074003.pdf
Mi Z, Wei Y-M, Wang B, Meng J, Liu Z, Shan Y, Liu J, Guan D. Socioeconomic impact assessment of China's CO 2 emissions peak prior to 2030. Journal of Cleaner Production. 2017;142 :2227-2236. Publisher's Version socioeconomic_impact_assessment_of_chinas_co2_emissions_peak.pdf